Jetway Polaris 400A

This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.

Layout

The Jetway Polaris 400A motherboard has a decent layout for being another relative unknown to the US market of enthusiasts. The CPU socket has the four mounting holes surrounding it, and plenty of room for heatsinks to the left and right of the processor, but the area below the processor is very close to a row of capacitors.

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The north bridge is very high up on the motherboard, almost to the bottom point of the processor socket itself. It is also very close to the memory DIMM slots making the traces necessary for data transfer shorter and more reliable. The ATX power connector on the Jetway board is pretty low on the board and that could cause problems for cases and power supplies with shorter ATX power cables. The connector is also close to the back of installed AGP video cards, which might cause issue with cards with rear heatsinks.

The DIMM slots are close enough to the AGP slot that they might interfere with the installation and removal of the memory modules. This is because of the 6th PCI slot that Jetway included and thus the AGP slot was forced upwards. The AGP port does include the basic retention clip as well.

The primary IDE channels are farther up the board to allow easier access and a cleaner overall system look when installed in a case. The third IDE channel and floppy connector are just slightly down more and on the edge of the PCB. The rest of the south part of the board is setup well with the SATA chipset and connectors as well as the additional headers for USB, Firewire, etc.

Features

For a relatively cheap brand of motherboard, Jetway is coming out full swing with the list of features that they are including on their Polaris motherboard. They have included a CMI 6-channel audio setup that is slightly better than the competing Realtek options we have seen other manufacturers go with. A 10/100 network connection is also included on the board.

Besides those standards, Jetway also has included a Serial ATA chipset (Promise) that provides two channels of SATA and an additional channel of standard IDE as well as RAID functionality. They used the VIA based Firewire chipset for two leads of IEEE1394 support as well as additional USB leads on the motherboard.

Included Extras

Having those extras isn’t that great if you aren’t given the tools to use them. Jetway has gone about half way on this part, giving you some of what you need and forcing you to look elsewhere for other parts. They supply the user with one SATA data cable and one SATA power cable/converter. A Firewire header is there to give you one Firewire port on the back of your PC and Jetway includes a header for your CMI audio to gain optical and composite input and output options. A single floppy and IDE cable are included as well.

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Bios

Using a Phoenix bios, the Jetway motherboard has some very conservative enthusiast settings available for tweaking and changing. First, you can see the memory timings available are pretty good, until we found that the board refused to run stable at a CAS latency setting of 2.0. All of the other KT400A motherboards ran the CAS 2 setting fine with the same memory except the Jetway.

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In the other important settings menu, we see the option to change the CPU ratio, but only up to a 12.0x setting. The FSB can be set as high as 232 MHz in 1 MHz increments. Power can be upped as high as 1.85v on the CPU Vcore, 2.8v on the DIMM voltage and 1.6v on the AGP voltage. You can also update the Vcc setting (chipset) from 2.5 to 2.6v.

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